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Friary is heading to the Albert Hall - again!

There was a tense wait for the adjudication at the Gordon Craig Theatre, Stevenage last Sunday after Friary’s performance of Philip Sparke’s Variations on an Enigma at the London & Southern Counties Regional Championships.  From the 12 bands competing there were several strong contenders for the top two places which would earn qualification for the National Finals at the Royal Albert Hall in October.

In a repeat of last year’s top two results, Zone One took the title with Friary runner-up.  Redbridge completed the podium places, with Wantage Silver ‘A’ coming in 4th.  Brothers Richard and Chris Straker took the individual prizes for Outstanding Cornet and Outstanding Euphonium respectively.

Adjudicators Steve Pritchard-Jones and Alan Fernie summarised their comments as follows: ‘The performance featured numerous delightful musical nuances and only let down by a few loose moments.  Some inspirational playing on show today.  Well done soloists.  Well directed by MD.’  ‘Some brave choices re shape and tempo that helped, all the way!  A very good band, well trained and directed!’  Brass website 4barsrest added: ‘… Friary provided ample evidence of their qualities with ensemble certainty enhanced by excellent contributions from their prize-winning euphonium and cornet.’

This latest success takes Friary to the Royal Albert Hall for the tenth time in the last 11 National Finals, an enviable record only bettered by a handful of the very top bands.  Band Chairman David Wicks was delighted: ‘The Band worked really hard on the test piece under the direction of Nigel Taken and we are thrilled that our performance on the day earned our ticket to the Finals.  We’re looking forward to it!’

photo: British Bandsman



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